I really like the idea of a SMASH (Single Malt and Single Hop) beer, but I often find them to leave you wanting a bit more complexity. For me the best way around this is either a single malt OR single hop beer. For this beer I chose to use a reasonably complex malt bill but only use a single hop all through the brew.
I chose equinox because I found the description to be fascinating. The good people at hop union describe it to have “a pronounced aroma profile with citrus, tropical fruit, floral and herbal characteristics. Specific descriptors include lemon, lime, papaya, apple, and green pepper.” I was curious what this hop could do to a beer when it was left on its own. At about 15% alpha acid, it’s not what some would consider a dual purpose hop, but I’ve seen a growing trend in the home-brew community of ignoring alpha acids and focusing on flavor.
During fermentation this beer had a bouquet of tropical fruit, with a potent aroma of mango and papaya coming from the airlock. When I first sampled this beer right after fermentation, I was shocked that the aroma and flavor were strongly reminiscent of green bell pepper! Now don’t get me wrong, this was not at all unpleasant, just unusual. As it has mellowed in the keg, the aroma is now lime and papaya with the flavor bringing forth soft lemon, pineapple, and still a hint of green pepper. I can definitely classify this beer as a success, although I am not sure if I would brew with 100% equinox again.
OG: 1.057 — FG: ?.??? — ABV: ?.?%
- 8 Lb 11 oz American 2-Row
- 3 oz Crystal 10
- 4 oz Crystal 40
- 3 oz Crystal 120
- 1/2 Lb Carapils
- .5 oz Equinox – 60 min
- 1 oz Equinox – 15 min
- 1.5 oz Equinox – 5 min
- 2 oz Equinox – Flame out
- 2 oz Equinox – Dry Hop for 5 Days with 3 Days Cold Crash
Yeast: Wyeast 1217 American II
As a final note, this beer definitely pushes the boundaries between American Amber and American Pale Ale, but I think I would be safe putting it in the latter category